Feature: Three Capes Scenic Drive

Cape Meares, Cape Lookout and Cape Kiwanda are some of the coast's most stunning headlands, strung together on a slow, winding and sometimes bumpy 40-mile alternative to US 101. It's a very worthwhile drive, though no longer quite a 'loop' as in March 2013 a section of road north of Cape Meares began sinking and was closed. Repairs are ongoing, so you'll have to drive to Cape Meares via Netarts and Oceanside, then backtrack.

The forested headland at Cape Meares offers good views from its lighthouse, which is 38ft tall (Oregon's shortest). Short trails lead to Oregon's largest Sitka spruce and the 'Octopus Tree,' another Sitka shaped like a candelabra.

A panoramic vista atop sheer cliffs that rise 800ft above the Pacific makes Cape Lookout State Park a highlight. In winter, the end of the cape, which juts out nearly a mile, is thronged with whale-watchers. There are wide sandy beaches, hiking trails and a popular campground near the water.

Finally there's Cape Kiwanda, a sandstone bluff that rises just north of the little town of Pacific City. You can hike up tall dunes, or drive your truck onto the beach. It's the most developed of the three capes, with plenty of services nearby, don't miss Pelican Pub & Brewery if you like beer. Watch the dory fleet launch their craft or, after a day's fishing, land as far up the beach as possible.